Schreyer Signature Travel Programs: India Program
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Justina Luongo

Major: Psychology B.S. (Life Sciences Option) and Film B.A.
Hometown: West Chester, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this experience from a friend who had participated in the program two years before I participated in it. Once hearing about the experience I directed a lot of my questions about the specifics of the program to Dr. Richard Stoller.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During my time in India, I visited many different cities including Delhi, Agra, Amritsar, Shimla, Chandigarh, and Jaipur. In most of these cities the program coordinated with different universities and we spent a lot of time interacting with undergraduates. To me, these were the most valuable times of the trip. We had the chance to exchange knowledge about the similarities between our cultures and educational systems. We also visited many temples while in each of these cities, sometimes even with the undergraduates, where we had the chance to learn about many of the different religions in the country. Additionally, we had the opportunity to visit famous landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple.

How did this experience impact you academically?

The experience had a great impact on me academically. The embedded course that had the travel component to India was a 400-level course that also counted as an honors credit for me since I took it as a freshman. The course was also the first experience that I had with psychology across different cultures. This exposure to psychology across cultures has impacted my view of psychology and my interests in psychology. It allowed me to see the value in research across different cultures. The course also had a large emphasis on environmental factors of psychology, many of these factors I had not even thought of before. The course fostered a lot of my current interests in psychology and impacted my decision to become a research assistant within the psychology department.

It allowed me to see the value in research across different cultures. The course also had a large emphasis on environmental factors of psychology, many of these factors I had not even thought of before.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goal is to attend graduate school and earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. I want to develop my own practice as a therapist. This experience has greatly strengthened my interest in completing this career path. Recurring topics that came up while spending time with the undergraduate students in India were stigmas to mental illness and access to care for mental illness. Mental illness in India is also stigmatized and has a lot of stereotypes attached to it just as it is in America. The experience as a whole fortified my resolve to pursue the career path as a practicing therapist because there are many people in the world who need help and need therapy.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because it is truly unique. The culture of India is vastly different than that of the United States and those in Europe, and students will not get such an experience anywhere else. Throughout the trip I had many more meaningful interactions than I can count and I did not feel at all like I had the superficial experience of a tourist.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows program has helped me by providing me with an environment where experiences inside and outside of the classroom are highly encouraged. If there was ever a reason that I could not participate in a program that I was interested in, I know that the faculty of the Paterno Fellows Program would work with me to help, like they did with helping me to fund my study abroad to India. I know that the success of this experience abroad will encourage me to keep taking on new opportunities and performing at a high level. I look forward to utilizing the resources offered by the Paterno Fellows Program to gain more meaningful experiences.



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